Graphically editing multi-page PDFs
October 18, 2006 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Graphically editing multi-page PDFs quickly (erasing things, mostly)

So I got this ScanSnap scanner from Fujitsu, that's allowing me to scan large volumes of sheet music to pdf.

This is awesome.

Now sometimes I like to clean up my scanned music: Erase stupid translations, get rid of big black copy marks; mostly draw white boxes over things I don't want to see. I've been doing this by opening each page of the pdf in Photoshop, making my edits, saving them again as a multipage pdf, taking THAT pdf to Acrobat and optimizing it (recompressing the images so it's 0.2-1 MB instead of 10-30 MB. This is time consuming.

Is there some way to edit the pdf directly, without rendering into an image file and back to a pdf? The only tools in Acrobat I've found that resemble drawing tools seem to be for commenting, and don't change the printed output. Am I just missing something obvious?

Mac OS X.4, Adobe CS 2, Fujitsu ScanSnap
posted by anonymoose to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Acrobat Professional has plenty of options for directly editing PDFs and standard Acrobat (not Reader) may have some as well, though I don't know for sure.

You can download Acrobat Pro 7 from the Adobe website, though it's a trial that's good for 30 days.
posted by camcgee at 12:53 PM on October 18, 2006

I should mention that adding a lot of edits to a PDF file will increase the size substantially, so if there are a lot of edits or if it's a long document, it's good to use File>Reduce File Size occasionally.
posted by camcgee at 12:55 PM on October 18, 2006

The scans are assembled as raster elements as far as Acrobat is concerned. I would advise you to automate your scanning workflow to another format, such as TIF (if requiring highest quality, etc) or JPG. Create your modifications, save the files and then user Distiller or manually arrange them into a new PDF.
posted by prostyle at 1:00 PM on October 18, 2006

Response by poster: I've been using Acrobat Pro, but I must be missing something. Will continue looking around...
posted by anonymoose at 1:01 PM on October 18, 2006

If you have Acrobat 7 Pro, look for the TouchUp Toolbar under the Tools menu, Advanced Editing submenu. Chances are that when you're scanning your sheet music you're ending up with a bitmap image rather than vector and fonts, so you'll want to select the Touch Up Object tool from the TouchUp toolbar and ctrl-click the sheet music. Select Edit Image from the contextual menu. If the selected object is a bitmap it will open in Photoshop. If it's vector it will open in Illustrator. If you're scanning using OCR software you can edit the type by selecting it with the Touch Up Text tool.
posted by lekvar at 1:06 PM on October 18, 2006

That's how it should work. I do this fairly regularly and I've run into the occasional glitch. For instance, the "Edit Image" command only seems to open elements in CS1 rather than CS2. I'm really not sure why that is. I hope you don't run into this glitch.
posted by lekvar at 1:10 PM on October 18, 2006

Best answer: PDFPen has been worth its money over and over again in my particular development house. It sounds like it would suit you well, too.
posted by symphonik at 4:06 PM on October 18, 2006

Response by poster: Nice, symphonik! It's perfect :)

Thanks all!
posted by anonymoose at 8:35 PM on October 18, 2006

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